The Reckoning and Movin’ On

2014 — Hmmmm. What does that mean exactly?

The Ghost of Christmas Presents has come and gone

IMG_4706The New Year Balls have dropped from the sky

IMG_4711Life seems to be pretty good! What now?

Well, I guess it’s time for a reckoning. Looking backwards at what was and where we are now. About this time last year, I entered into a challenge put forth by Shar Mohr at My Picture Book Writing Journey. She challenged readers to read 300 books in 2013. I accepted the challenge and began my quest. Sadly, I fell short of the goal. I read 191 books in 2013. That’s not a bad number. It’s really a good number. And I sure had fun along the way.

We read a LOT of good books in 2013. After some tough deliberation, I have picked out my 15 favorites of those 191 and I’ll give you the list – in the order that I read them.

IMG_0819The Golden Rule
written by Ilene Cooper
illustrated by Gabi Swiatowski
published by Abrams Books in 2007
Review here.

IMG_1067This Moose Belongs to Me
written and illustrated by
Oliver Jeffers
Published by Philomel Books in 2012
Review here

IMG_1131The Night I Followed the Dog
written and illustrated by
Nina Laden
Published by Chronicle Books in 1994
Review here

IMG_1377The Incredible Book Eating Boy
written and illustrated by
Oliver Jeffers
Published by Philomel Books in 2006
Review here

IMG_1604Gorilla
written and illustrated by
Anthony Browne
Published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1991
Review here

IMG_1684Dog Loves Books
written and illustrated by
Louise Yates
Published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2010
Review here

img334Painting the Wind
written by
Patricia and Emily MacLachlan
illustrated by Katy Schneider
Published by Harper Collins in 2003
Review here

IMG_2583Bub or the Very Best Thing
written and illustrated by
Natalie Babbitt
Published by Michael di Capua Books in 1994
Review here

IMG_3102Black Dog
written and illustrated by
Levi Pinfold
Published by Templar Books in 2011
Review here

IMG_3745The Dancing Tiger
written by Malachy Doyle
illustrated by Steve Johnson and
Lou Fancher
Published by Viking in 2005
Review here

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One
written and illustrated by
Kathryn Otoshi
Published by KO Kids Books in 2008
Review here

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A Ball for Daisy

written and illustrated by
Chris Raschka
Published by Schwartz and Wade Books in 2011
Review here

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Infinity and Me

written by Kate Hosford
illustrated by Gabi Swiatowska
Published by Carolrhoda Books in 2012
Review here

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Rabbityness

written and illustrated by
Jo Empson
Published by Child’s Play in 2012
Review here

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Flo & Wendell

written and illustrated by
William Wegman
Published by Dial Books for Young Readers in 2013
Review here

2013 was a truly good year for good books! Now it’s time to move on and see what 2014 has in store for us! I am looking forward to some magical moments!

Thanks for reading along with me!
Your friend
Rhythm

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Doggyness

Last week before all this icy weather locked us in, my buddy Walker had an opportunity to go do some painting with Mrs K’s 2nd graders. Every year they read a story about an elephant that paints and invite Walker to come demonstrate how dogs can paint too! This is the 3rd year that Walker has visited them and he sure has a fun time!

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We also went to the library last week and came home with the perfect go-along book.

IMG_4234Rabbityness is written and illustrated by Jo Empson. It was published in 2012 by Child’s Play. (Please click on Ms Empson’s name and visit her lovely website!)

The artwork in this book is extraordinary! The story is reminiscent of the Heart and the Bottle. It begins “Rabbit liked doing rabbity things.” Like hopping and jumping and washing his ears. Each of these pages shows a black rabbit on a white page in sparse green grass doing rabbity things. Then we see “Rabbit also liked doing unrabbity things.” “He liked painting …”

IMG_4235And there suddenly is a BURST of color like fireworks. Painting and music made Rabbit very happy and he filled the woods with both. This made all the other rabbits happy too. But one day Rabbit disappeared. Now the book is back to black and gray. The other rabbits were very sad and didn’t know what to do. They bottled up their hearts. Then they found that Rabbit had left a deep, dark hole and in the hole were some gifts — paints and musical instruments. The rabbits unbottled their hearts and started filling the woods with color and music and discovered that this let them remember Rabbit and they were all happy again.

Rabbityness is about individuality and knowing your own heart. Like the Heart and the Bottle, Rabbityness is also about loss and finding your heart again. The two books are so alike and yet so different. This one is very “Walker” with his splashes of color everywhere. He likes doing undoggy things like painting. And eating bark off of trees. But he sure spreads JOY along with paint splatters with his happy tail.

walker painting 4I wish you a Doggyness day full of laughter and color and music. Dance and be creative and Joyful!

Tis the season!

Your friend
Rhythm

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Hide and Go Seek

One of my favorite games is a kind of hide and go seek. Somebody hides my toy and I have to find it by listening to hot and cold hints. I LOVE this game!!!!

IMG_4071Sometimes I hide the toy and the Mom Person has to find it. She’s not very good at it and  usually needs help.

IMG_4068Sometimes I like to hide myself and see if anyone can find me.

IMG_3067And sometimes the other animals at the 7 Acre Wood like to play hide and seek as well.

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Hide and Seek is a fun game no matter how you play it!

IMG_4062We found a fun book at the library last week that’s all about Hide and Seek.

Millie and the Big Rescue by Alexander Steffensmeier.

It was published in 2012 by Walker Books. (We LOVE Walker Books!)

This is a FUN, SILLY Picture Book. Millie is a cow and the star of the book. She loved to play hide and seek. And so did all her friends on the farm. One day Millie chose to hide in the top of a big tree. No one could find her. She watched them all looking and looking. After awhile she got bored and decided to try to climb down, but found she was STUCK!

Well, in her attempts to get down from the tree, she gave herself away and all the other animals saw that she was stuck in the tree. They all made various attempts to rescue her, but as they did, each one got stuck in the tree with Millie. This book is very reminiscent of Oliver Jeffers’s Stuck! Even the farmer lady ends up in the tree. (I like that it’s a farmer lady and not a farmer man.) They decide that it’s a nice spot for a picnic and tea. But then the mailman comes and then the firemen to rescue everybody. And they ALL end up in the tree enjoying the view and eating cake. A very Happy Ending!

I love this book! The illustrations are really funny and require lots of thoughtful observation because there is a lot going on on every page. Even the endpapers show Millie in various hiding places.

Mr Steffensmeier has a pretty cool website HERE. It’s all in German so I can’t read any of it. But you might can.

And here is a little video of Mr Steffensmeier drawing Millie the Cow. Except in German she appears to be Lieselotte. Anyway, enjoy —

Wishing you a Joyful week full of nice views and fun with your friends

Rhythm

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Infinity and Me

Infinity is a big word. It’s a bigger concept than my canine brain can come to terms with. What is infinity? The dictionary defines infinity as “anything endless or unlimited as space, time, distance, quantity, etc. Without limit or end.”

IMG_4053Whew! Without limit or end. Well, certainly when I look up at the sky at night, I must be seeing infinity. When I think about my Mom Person and the love that I feel in my heart, I must be feeling infinity. When she leaves me at home, I feel the infinity of time passing. When I go to school and visit with kids, I know the infinity of possibility. When I sit at this computer, I see the infinity of connections that are made every day all around the world.

We have a lovely Picture Book called Infinity and Me by Kate Hosford. I was attracted to this book because of the fabulous illustrations by Gabi Swiatkowska. I am quite taken with her artwork. It has an old fashioned, Edward Gorey feel to it. She illustrated another book, the Golden Rule, that I did a post about HERE. And we have a couple of others on our bookshelves.

Infinity and Me was published in 2012 by Carolrhoda Books and is suitable for ages 5 and up.

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This is the story of Uma, a young girl with some brand new red shoes that she can’t wait to show off. When she can’t sleep for the excitement, she goes outside to look at the stars and starts to feel very small. She also starts to wonder about infinity. What does infinity mean?

The next day she asks various people what infinity means to them and gets an infinity of answers. From numbers too big to count, to a “napping 8” racetrack that goes on forever, to family, to friendship, to music. The possibilities were endless! In the end she realizes that infinity for her is found back at home in the comforting arms of her grandmother. I can relate to that!

IMG_4058A book about New Red Shoes, Infinity, and Grandmothers. Fabulous!

At the end of the book is an Author’s Note in which Ms Hosford explains a little about the science of infinity. Did you know that the “napping 8” that is the symbol for infinity is called a lemniscate ∞? Fun word! Ms Hosford asked a lot of kids what they thought infinity was and got an infinity of answers. Just like Uma. And in the end she challenges the reader to “find your own way to imagine the idea.”

Danielle at This Picture Book Life did a really nice review of this book that you might want to check out HERE.

If you happen to be into the mathematical idea of infinity THIS LINK might interest you.

If you see music as infinite you might check out THIS LINK. And THIS LINK for some Circular Music.

And if you see infinity in art you might like this video —

So now take up the challenge — How do you see INFINITY?

Wishing you Endless Joy
Rhythm

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No Words Necessary

i have become a big fan of Picture Book author and illustrator, Mr Chris Raschka. I first made his acquaintance some time ago with a book called A Ball For Daisy.

IMG_4049A Ball for Daisy was published in 2011 by Schwartz & Wade Books. It was the 2012 Caldecott Medal Winner.

There are no words in A Ball for Daisy. Just pictures of a happy little dog who receives a new red ball. No words are necessary to see the JOY that comes from having a new red ball! It is written in the sparkle in Daisy’s eyes. Daisy’s girl takes Daisy and her new ball to the park to play, and oh dear! Another dog steals Daisy’s ball! And bursts it! No words are necessary to see the devastation that comes from losing your new red ball. It’s there in the hanging head and tail. Poor Daisy. But the next day the owner of the murderous dog presents a new blue ball to Daisy. Oh JOY! No words are necessary to see the relief and forgiveness. It’s there in Daisy’s prance. This book is an emotional roller coaster. Laughter and tears and cheering. I love reading this book with kids. They GET it!

Well, Mr Raschka was at the Texas Book Festival recently talking about his new book — Daisy Gets Lost. Published in 2013 by Schwartz & Wade Books.

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In Daisy Gets Lost, Daisy and her girl go to the park with Daisy’s blue ball. Daisy gets distracted by a squirrel and chases it into the woods. Uh oh! Daisy’s lost in the woods! She doesn’t know where her girl is! And her girl doesn’t know where she is! Now we have the 1st words in the book “DAISY!!!!” We see the girl and the dog running back and forth frantically. Then Daisy howls! And her girl can find her. Yay! Happy reunion!! Another emotional story. The Mom Person got me my very own copy of Daisy Gets Lost and Mr Raschka signed it for me —

IMG_3891We read this book to some kindergarteners recently. They were supposed to write a story, but they didn’t know how to write the words!! So we showed them how a story didn’t really need written words. You could do it all with pictures! They were quite excited! No letters and no words to write. They could do that! And they did. They did some awesome stories!

I love wordless books. They spark imaginations and one story can become lots of stories.

Mr Raschka has written and illustrated many, many books. I have enjoyed several of them (I reviewed Fishing in the Air by Sharon Creech and illustrated by Mr Raschka here.) and want to find more. His artwork is big and bold and loose and free and full of emotion. Not all of his books are wordless. He does a nice job with poetic verse as well. He has done several books about jazz musicians in which you can feel the Rhythm and beat.

For such a prolific author and illustrator I could find no website for Mr Raschka. But you can read about him HERE and HERE and HERE

A video of Mr Raschka talking books –

Now I’m off to play with my red ball —

IMG_4043I hope you have a JOYous week! And don’t get lost!

Your friend in the woods
Rhythm

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Playing Catch-up

I LOVE to play catch

Copy of CIMG3486CIMG3493CIMG4554And I like to eat ketchup.

But playing catch-up can be a little frustrating

020111084755I’ve been at school a lot lately – reading lots of good books. So now I’m playing catch-up to share them all with you.

IMG_3974These two are not exactly picture books. They are chapter books, but they do have some pictures. And they are EXCELLENT books!

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library is by Chris Grabenstein.
It’s kind of like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in a library. It is one FANTASTIC read! I highly recommend it.

The Van Gogh Cafe is by Cynthia Rylant. It is a short book with short chapters about a magical cafe where wonderful things happen. I highly recommend this one as well.

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The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! is by that crazy funny man Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith. This is the classic story of the 3 little pigs told from the point of view of the wolf! Hilarious!!

IMG_3977One is by Kathryn Otoshi. This is an incredibly stunning book. The illustrations are about as simple as you will ever find and the story is as deep and meaningful as a well. It’s about colors. And it’s about numbers. And it’s about bullying. And it’s about how One voice can make a difference.

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Fluffy and Baron is a true story by Laura Rankin. It is the story of Ms Rankin’s childhood pets – a German Shepherd Dog named Baron and his best buddy, a duck named Fluffy. A feel good story of friendship. It will bring smiles of JOY!

So, that’s kind of catch-up with the books. Now I’d like to share a couple of links with you to some interesting articles I came across recently.

The Nerdy Book Club blog had a really nice post from Chris Dexter about reading dogs. Ms Dexter is a teacher and librarian in Montana and dogs from the R.E.A.D. program have been visiting her library for several years. You can read her post HERE.

Maclean’s has an interesting article about how adults are turning to PICTURE BOOKS for hope and inspiration. You can check it out HERE.

And I will leave you with an interview with Ms Otoshi –

I wish you Joyful Reading from
Your friendly Library Dog
Rhythm

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Chloe and the Lion

My Mom Person recently went to the Texas Book Festival in Austin, Texas. She brought home quite a few fantastical picture books, and stories and pictures of some of the very special folks who create picture books. In another post I told you about the crazy picture book duo of Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett. Both of these gentlemen have given the world a whole lot of fun and crazy, special books.

Well, I want to share with you another Mac Barnett book – only this time he has teamed up with Adam Rex. They make for another crazy duo!

IMG_3981This book is Chloe and the Lion – written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Adam Rex.

It was published in 2012 by Disney – Hyperion Books.

From the book jacket – “A trip to the park, a walk through the woods, a glint of teeth behind a gnarled tree. And that’s when things go VERY wrong.”

This is a cute story about a little girl named Chloe who loves to ride the merry-go-round in the park. One day while walking through the woods on her way to the park, she encounters a lion. And that’s when things go Very Wrong — in the book.  This book is really not about Chloe. It’s about creating a picture book. It’s about the relationship between the author who writes the words of the story and the illustrator who puts pictures with those words. Are the two telling the same story? Do the pictures enhance the story, make it better, or send it down the tubes? How do you find that perfect combination?

This is a fascinating book and it is soooooo going to spark some imaginations.

The Mom Person got to visit with Mr Rex while he was hanging out in the children’s tent helping with some art lessons. He told her that the figures in the book of Mr Barnett and himself were little puppets that he made. And he used toilet paper for his shirt. Funny.

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Pleas visit Mr Barnett’s website HERE.

And Mr Rex’s website HERE.

And now the trailer for Chloe and the Lion —

You’re going to LOVE Chloe and the Lion!
I promise!!

Your Library Dog Friend
Rhythm

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Picture Book Month

November is Picture Book Month – a “literacy initiative that celebrates the print picture book.” I believe that picture books should be celebrated every day of every month. But it’s nice to have a whole month devoted to talk and sharing of the magic that is a picture book.

I am a library dog and I spend a great deal of my time enjoying picture books with young people. That’s my job. I love my job. I get to hear kids learn new words and new concepts. I get to see their joy and excitement as they travel into new worlds. Picture books are teachers and magic carpet rides. The illustrations in picture books provide visions to spark their imaginations.

To find out more about Picture Book Month visit the website HERE.

For an essay from Tomie dePaola about the importance of picture books visit HERE.

Now I invite you to go out and enjoy some picture books!

Make it a habit!

Your Library Dog Friend
Rhythm

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Gorilla

Julie Rowan-Zoch recently did a stunning review of an Anthony Browne book titled One Gorilla a Counting Book. You should check out this review on her blog. Reading this review reminded the Mom Person that we actually had an Anthony Browne book called Gorilla. So we decided to reread this little gem and share it with you.

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The Mom Person doesn’t remember when or where she found this book, but it’s a special one for her, having several important things going for it. One – it’s very small. 4″ X 5″. The Mom Person likes small books. Two – it’s about a gorilla. The Mom Person likes gorillas. I don’t know any gorillas so I can’t say if I like them or not, but I like the one in this book. Three – The Mom Person thinks that the illustrations in this book are fantastic. I agree with this. There is a feel of whimsical (I like that word, whimsical!) realism in each picture. And lots of funny little details to look for.  And Four – the story is a simple sweet one about having dreams and bringing them to life.

Gorilla is about a little girl who LOVES gorillas and wants to go to the zoo to see them. But her father is always too busy to take her. He’s too busy to do anything with her. It’s very sad. (There is no mother in this book. I don’t know why) On her birthday, she receives a toy gorilla and is rather miffed that it is not a real one. But in the night magical things happen that I won’t tell you about. You’ll have to read the book!

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Gorilla was first published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1983. Our miniature edition was printed in 1991. I would imagine that the book can be found in a bigger size.  I highly recommend it!

Here’s a little video of Mr Browne and some other authors at a conference talking about the importance of picture books —

What Every Kid Should Know Before They Are Five!

We read a cute book at the library this evening. It’s a picture book which is my favorite type of book. And it’s got lots of good information. It’s called Everything I Need to Know Before I’m Five by Valorie Fisher. I think it’s too late for me because I’m 9. But I do know some of this stuff. Like counting. I can count to 3. And colors. I’m supposed to be color blind, but I can always find my favorite pink tennis ball amongst the yellow ones.

My Mom Person says that this is a really colorful book. I guess it is. It does have cute pictures. They aren’t drawings – they’re real pictures, but they’re pictures of toys doing silly things instead of real people, so it’s kind of funny. Like little toy dolls standing on their heads. Or scrubbing giant ladybugs.

  Other things that Ms Fisher thinks 5 year olds should know are the alphabet, and shapes, and opposites, and the seasons. It’s a really nice book, but it doesn’t have 1 single dog in it! Ms. Fisher has her own blog with lots of stuff about her fun books. You should check it out (http://blog.valoriefisher.com/).

I think kids will really like this book even tho there aren’t any dogs.

You should check it out!!